In re the Marriage of: Lori M. Matz, petitioner, Respondent, vs. Troy M. Matz, Appellant. A10-760; filed July 5, 2011; unpublished
Jeremy T. Kramer, Law Office of Jeremy T. Kramer, Owatonna, Minnesota (for respondent)
Keith L. Deike, Patton, Hoversten & Berg, P.A., Waseca, Minnesota (for appellant)
Credibility determines all.
Troy and Lori divorced. At trial, Troy claimed that the house they lived in was his non-marital property not subject to division with Lori. To do this, he testified that he had actually provided the down payment for the house and paid off the mortgage before the marriage. However, the records showed that his parents were the original purchasers, though Troy alleged he made payments to them for the down payment and mortgage. Unfortunately, he had very little documentation for his assertions. Troy did not produce a purchase agreement with his parents describing the alleged payment procedure. His mother testified in support by showing some of her check book ledger entries indicating house related payments from Troy-some entries, though not enough to verify Troy’s assertions.
The only document that directly related to the house’s title was a quit claim deed for the house executed by Troy’s parents in favor of Troy and Lori four years after their marriage in 2002. Not good for Troy.
Any property that is acquired after the marriage is presumed to be marital property, subject to certain exceptions for non-marital property. A person wanting to overcome the marital presumption must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the property is non-marital. The court can rely solely on the testimony, without any documentation, of the parties to make a finding on the nature of the contested property. The court found Troy’s and his mother’s testimony not credible and that quit claim deed giving Troy and Lory all title rights to the house during their marriage weighed strongly against Troy. Credibility determines all.